Background: Because pediatric antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis is rare, management generally relies on adult data. We assessed treatment practices, uptake of existing clinical assessment tools, and interest in pediatric treatment protocols among rheumatologists caring for children with granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) and microscopic polyangiitis (MPA).
Methods: A needs-assessment survey developed by an international working group of pediatric rheumatologists and two nephrologists was circulated internationally. Data were summarized with descriptive statistics. Pearson's chi-square tests were used in inferential univariate analyses.
Results: The 209 respondents from 36 countries had collectively seen ~1600 children with GPA/MPA; 144 had seen more than two in the preceding 5 years. Standardized and validated clinical assessment tools to score disease severity, activity, and damage were used by 59, 63, and 36%, respectively; barriers to use included lack of knowledge and limited perceived utility. Therapy varied significantly: use of rituximab rather than cyclophosphamide was more common among respondents from the USA (OR = 2.7 [1.3-5.5], p = 0.0190, n = 139), those with >5 years of independent practice experience (OR = 3.8 [1.3-12.5], p = 0.0279, n = 137), and those who had seen >10 children with GPA/MPA in their careers (OR = 4.39 [2.1-9.1], p = 0.0011, n = 133). Respondents who had treated >10 patients were also more likely to continue maintenance therapy for at least 24 months (OR = 3.0 [1.4-6.4], p = 0.0161, n = 127). Ninety six percent of respondents believed in a need for pediatric-specific treatment guidelines; 46% supported adaptation of adult guidelines while 69% favoured guidelines providing a limited range of treatment options to allow comparison of effectiveness through a registry.
Conclusions: These data provide a rationale for developing pediatric-specific consensus treatment guidelines for GPA/MPA. While pediatric rheumatologist uptake of existing clinical tools has been limited, guideline uptake may be enhanced if outcomes of consensus-derived treatment options are evaluated within the framework of an international registry.
Keywords: Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis; Clinical practice guidelines; Disease classification; Granulomatosis with polyangiitis; Microscopic polyangiitis; Outcome assessment; Pediatric rheumatology; Physician practice patterns; Vasculitis treatment.